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October 4, 2015

Kyle Busch

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.


THE MODERATOR: We have today's runner‑up for today's 46th annual AAA 400, Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kyle, intense race for everybody out there. Can you walk us through the final few laps for you?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it was a pretty good race for us. Pretty simple, I guess, I'd say, too. For us and the 18 Interstate Batteries Camry, we had a really good race car, so my guys did a great job preparing a good piece for us, and allowed me to run up front all day. We were the second best car and we were able to come home second.
We finished where I thought we deserved to be, and you know, there the first 300 laps it seemed like it was going to be pretty simple to finish there, and then things kind of got a little complicated there in the last 100 with pit strategies and pit stops and things going on with where we needed to be on the restart and all that stuff.
It all ended out to be pretty good for us and our 18 car. Move on to the next round.
THE MODERATOR: It also turned out to be a good day for the 88 car and the driver of the 88, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the Nationwide Chevrolet, makes it into the Contender Round for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Dale, it got close out there. Talk about your closing laps.
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, they were pretty eventful. We weren't going to really advance. Jamie, he took off on that run before last with about 50 to go, and I didn't see that kind of speed in his car all day, so it kind of surprised me, but I thought we were going to get to him and get around him, but he took off with the laps running out. But we had a late caution and got around him, him and Matt down there on Turn 3 and 4 on the outside. Jamie was trying to squeeze down in front of Matt into Turn 3 and get to the bottom, and they really slow‑rolled that corner for some reason, both of them, and I just went to the outside because it was about the only shot I had to pinch anybody down, pinch Jamie down if I could get to his quarterpanel, and that's how it worked out.
We had a pretty good car. I thought we were about the third to fifth best car, and we just fought all day for track position, and we passed a lot of cars and had a lot of fun.

Q. Dale, did you actually have a loose wheel, and were you going to have to come in if that caution hadn't come out?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, the left rear was falling off. I was a couple laps from coming in. It was shaking real bad in the corner, and it started shaking on decel, and I knew it was a matter of time before it was coming off. It wasn't going to make 50 laps. We had 50 to go at that point, and I wasn't going to bash my head against a concrete wall somewhere for a damned loose wheel, so we just come in sooner than later.

Q. I have one for Kyle: Just want to go back to that last pit stop. I know you took four tires, Kevin took two, and you said that you had the second best car. Did you think taking those four tires there at the end would maybe give you an advantage knowing that Kevin took two there?
KYLE BUSCH: For as fast as Kevin was today, I don't know if I could have had eight tires and I would have beat him. Seemed like he had eight tires. But for us, I certainly did think that we'd have a better shot at being able to beat him, but unfortunately I had to restart fifth there. I think Kenseth stayed out, and I came off pit road fourth, but instead of being able to restart fourth, I had to restart fifth, and that just kind of held me up a little bit and wasn't able to allow me to get a run around the outside and try to get to Kevin's right side before things kind of got single‑filed out. So that's where we kind of lost our advantage with those four tires.

Q. Dale, after having three finishes at 20th or worse last year in the second round, what are your expectations this season after narrowly today making it to the second round?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: I'm sorry, ask me that question again.

Q. After having three finishes of 20th or worse last year in the second round, what are your expectations this season after narrowly making it into the round?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, well, we've been competitive. We ran really good at Richmond, New Hampshire and here. I feel like we've got pretty good speed. We lost a little speed over the summer, and I think we're gaining a little bit on it. We've still got some more to find, but we'll see how these next few tracks stack up. We've just got to get a little bit of luck and not ruin it for ourselves.

Q. Kyle, you came in just outside the top 12 with the weather situation and limited practice. How much concern was there for you and the team going into today's race?
KYLE BUSCH: I had a little bit of concern just based off the short amount of practice time that we got and the way the car was feeling in those practice sessions. You know, I just wasn't quite as confident in it as I wanted to be. We never really got a good feel for‑‑ I never really got a good feel for what I thought I needed to race. But right then and there, for today, the way we ran, I can't say enough about my team. Adam and the guys, they made some really good calls and thought to some smart changes overnight, and we had a really fast car today.
You know, I shouldn't have been too worried, I guess. Should have put my faith in my team, which they prevailed today for me.

Q. Harvick ends up making it after it looked like he would be eliminated and take out a huge threat. Is that bad news for everybody else?
KYLE BUSCH: The way he ran today, hell, yeah. That was a guy that we wanted to knock out, you know, that's a guy that can win all these races, and you don't want to have to compete against a guy like that. But you know, that's why they're as good as they are, and they were last year's champion, so they're going to have an opportunity to continue on. We'll see what happens. There's still two more rounds to figure out who's going to make it to Homestead.

Q. Dale, you ran really well here in the spring, didn't have the finish to show for it. Did that give you confidence coming into today's race?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: No, I didn't remember how we ran here, so I don't‑‑ I can hardly remember where we ran last week. But we were pretty happy with the way the car was in practice. I thought that even with the limited time we had, we had pretty good speed comparable to the competition. We usually‑‑ if we practice good, we usually race good, because we never really practice good and tend to race really well, so if we're going to practice good, I get pretty confident, and we seemed to have some pretty good speed in practice.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on making it to the Contender Round, and we'll see you in Charlotte.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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